Entrepreneurship is a critical component of a thriving economy; and assuring that everyone has access to entrepreneurial opportunities is a fundamental yet, transformative pillar of economic equality. In the New Orleans metropolitan area, per the New Orleans Data Center, Black-owned businesses account for approximately 24% of businesses, while white-founded firms make up 63% of businesses in our region.
GNO, Inc.’s Economic Mobility Strategy, which focuses on action-oriented solutions and initiatives aimed to create wealth for the African American community in the New Orleans region, seeks to mitigate our regional startup disparity.
Accordingly, GNO, Inc. has initiated, in partnership with Xavier, Dillard, and SUNO, The HBCU Startup Internship. The goal of this program is to increase startup activity of HBCU students in our region by providing real time experience to foster entrepreneurial ideation and development.
The HBCU Startup Internship will pair 12 selected Juniors and Seniors from the partnering institutions with startup companies in the region who are seeking qualified, diverse talent. The goal of the program is to train the next generations of successful entrepreneurs of color, inspire students to become innovative change makers, and increase the innovation capacity of regional startup firms.
The internship, which is a paid program, will introduce the students to the entrepreneurial mindset and provide hands-on training in high impact, real-world entrepreneurship settings. Participants will develop creative capacity, entrepreneurial confidence, mentorship, and acquire the necessary skills to build scalable startups that solve real problems.
Successful intern candidates will be expected to:
Be eager to learn and work in a startup environment
Proactively identify opportunities to expand or enhance the startup’s business model
Fulfill tasks and assignments timely and accurately
Develop positive and productive relationships with the startup’s staff
GNO, Inc., through a partnership with Krewe de Nieux, will identify startups in the region to host the interns. Once the startup participation is solidified, GNO, Inc. will work with the partnering institutions to confirm intern availability. This 120 hour internship experience will start on June 7, 2021 and end on July 9, 2021.
Each internship cohort will launch with a day-long boot camp, presented by Idea Village, to provide students with an interactive start-up intensive that will provide an accelerated opportunity to learn what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. The internship experience will also include two workshops that will dissect various aspects of the region’s startup ecosystem, such as capital resources, networking, and more.
The HBCU Startup Internship participants will apply online and qualified candidates will be invited for an in-person/virtual interview. This program will pilot in the summer of 2021, with the goal of also being offered in following summers.